NHL

Mika Zibanejad’s father wins Rangers win amid son’s milestone

Mika Zibanejad’s father wins Rangers win amid son’s milestone

Mika Zibanejad’s father wins Rangers win amid son’s milestone

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mehrdad Zibanejad, the father of Rangers No. 1 center Mika Zibanejad, can’t get over the fact that his son has played in more than 700 NHL games.

The elder Zibanejad didn’t even know hockey when he raised Mika in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a volleyball and soccer player, having competed for the national volleyball teams of Iran and Sweden, as well as at a high level in soccer. Mika’s older brother, Monir Kalgoum, however, was a center who played professionally in several lower-level European hockey leagues. Monir is the one who got Mika into hockey.

“I remember when I was little I started letting him play tennis, he had his own coach,” Mehrdad said. “And one day he said, ‘Please tell my father I don’t want to play with that old man all the time. I want to go play hockey. Growing up, every time they went to pick up their brother or play, he would watch and love it. Just run between the seats and play the game. So this [when I said]’I give up.'”

Mika Zibanejad’s father wins Rangers win amid son’s milestone
Mika Zibanejad
AP
Mika Zibanejad, right, and his father Mehrdad.
Mika Zibanejad, right, and his father Mehrdad.
Twitter/@NYRangers

Mehrdad Zibanejad is one of the parents of Rangers players accompanying their children on the parents’ trip this weekend. They have enjoyed many activities and quality time with their children as part of the First Parents event since before the coronavirus pandemic.

After a few of them took an afternoon stroll around Nashville to see all the bustling city has to offer, the group hit Top Golf on Friday to finish off the Rangers’ day off. Mehrdad had been to Nashville several times before because he used to live in Atlanta, so it was an easy trip to come see Mika play during his years playing in Ottawa and New York.

Mehrdad said he moved to the United States because Mika was drafted into the NHL by the Senators in 2011.

“I tried to be around and support him,” said Mehrdad, who had the honor of reading the lineup card before Thursday night’s game in Detroit, which was the 700th game of Mika. “Don’t tell him what to do, but let him know that I’m there and [if] this is happening, I’ll try to help you.”

There are 17 dads on the trip, but Barclay Goodrow’s dad John is the veteran of the group. He has been a part of five fathers’ journeys during their son’s 10 NHL seasons. After featuring in four during Barclay’s time with the Sharks, John is experiencing his first with the Rangers.

The family time on the road has the team in good spirits, which seemed to be what it needed after three tough losses at home earlier this month.

“It’s great to spend time with the players, obviously with our kids, meet the parents,” John Goodrow said. “Having such an impressive win in Detroit made it a great trip to Nashville. It’s fun, it brings back so many memories of the minor hockey days when you go to tournaments and the parents hang out and have coffee and watch the boys on ice”.



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